Managing the Public Relations RFP Process To Identify Qualified Agencies

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Identifying and hiring a public relations agency takes many hours of dedicated time and energy. The presentation was made during the PRSA Conference in October 2010. It outlines the most important steps and processes needed to manage the RFP process to ensure an amicable long-term relationship between client and firm.

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Managing the Public Relations RFP Process To Identify Qualified Agencies

  1. 1. Best Business Practices: Strategy, Writing and Managing the RFP Process PRSA International Conference Workshop
  2. 2. Introductions
  3. 3. Agenda • Top Concerns • The RFQ • The RFP • The Selection Process • Presentations • Evaluations • Sealing the Deal • Q&A
  4. 4. System Is Broken
  5. 5. Snapshot: PR Agency Top Concerns • Short deadlines • Budget not provided • Incomplete scope of work • Exhaustive response required • Wired for particular agency • Poorly written RFP = difficult client R F P
  6. 6. Snapshot: Top Concerns of Organizations • Daunting process • Differentiating between agencies • Keeping the process open and fair • Boilerplate response • Bait and switch/turnover • Keeping promises/delivering results R F P
  7. 7. Getting Started • Assessing the need • Set aside the time and resources • Organization-wide support
  8. 8. Search Criteria • Size • Services • Specialty • Geography • Track record
  9. 9. Pre-screening • Identify agencies • Due diligence • Request For Qualifications
  10. 10. About RFQs • Starts your scorecard • Determines conflicts • Prepares agencies
  11. 11. Developing the RFP • Internal committee • Timeline • Contact agencies from RFQ
  12. 12. Elements of the RFP • Reason for RFP • Background • Previous programs • Scope of work • Budget • Sensitivities • Timeline
  13. 13. Elements of the RFP • Point of contact • Conference call • Establish format
  14. 14. Elements of the RFP • PRSA Code of Ethics • Sample contract • Timeline • Demonstrate the value of your business!
  15. 15. Must Haves • Relevant background • Agency structure • Account team bios • Provide case studies
  16. 16. The Post RFP Period • Use scorecard for every exchange • Site visits • Even Steven?
  17. 17. Evaluating Responses • Refer to the RFQ • Voting weight • Watch for typos, boilerplate
  18. 18. Presentations • Establish format • Managing the process • Require actual team • Prep internal committee • On-site/off-site
  19. 19. Presentations • Create a new scorecard • Presentation should not repeat the proposal • Pay attention to: • how the agency describes its philosophy and approach to client work • how they demonstrate creativity
  20. 20. Chemistry • Rapport is critical • Appropriate representatives? • The marriage test • Use gut
  21. 21. Making It Official • Notify winning agency first • Schedule first meeting • Prepare contract • Notify other agencies with personal phone call
  22. 22. A Successful Partnership • Make agency part of your team • 3-month review • Review invoices • Be a good client • Celebrate the successes!
  23. 23. Q & A
  24. 24. Handout – 10 Steps 1. Assess your organization 2. Create search criteria 3. Budget 4. Create scorecard (see samples) 5. Issue RFQ 6. Produce the RFP 7.Evaluate 8. Finalists 9. Structure the presentation 10.Watch for good chemistry
  25. 25. Thank You! Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA 703.847.9702 hs@inhouse-com.com Robert Udowitz 703.621.8060 rudowitz@rfpassociates.net
  26. 26. Best Business Practices: Strategy, Writing and Managing the RFP Process Tuesday, October 19 8:00 am – 9:15 am PRSA Conference Workshop

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